Hope in motion: Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone

- through Sophie Solere

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Synthesis of thirty years of research and practical workshops, Hope in motion by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, eminent figures in ecopsychology, shows us how to take part in the change of direction, the transition from a society of self-destructive industrial growth to a model compatible with life. This reversal implies “recognizing our pain for the earth, instead of repressing it. »

What is the greatest urgency of the moment? “Hearing the cry of the Earth within us », answers the Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh whom the author quotes.

To help fellow human beings face the truth about the consequences of climate change and the collapse of biodiversity, free their inner voice and awaken their desire to act, Joanna Macy, specialist in deep ecology and general systems theory, doctor of philosophy and Buddhist, invented, at the end of the 1970s, the “Work that connects”. It is a "powerful methodology of personal and collective transformation", underlines Michel-Maxime Egger, another specialist in ecopsychology, in the preface of this book which is a translation of the original English edition (Activate Hope. How to face the mess we're in without going crazy), published in 2012.

The objective of this practical method? To help us begin what Joanna Macy calls “the change of direction”, that is, the transition from a society of self-destructive industrial growth to a society that sustains life. A true revolution, more radical than the agricultural revolution, which occurred 10 years ago, and than the industrial revolution, which spanned several generations, because it does not only concern economic policy, but also habits and values ​​that support it. In addition, this ecological change, external and internal, must occur in the space of a few years, she underlines.

The Work that connects takes the form of a spiral that unfolds in four stages, from wonder, to the recognition of suffering, which allows you to change your outlook, then to engage. These four stages, which aim to transform despair into “empowerment” according to the English word, are explained throughout this book, which constitutes a complement and a deepening of the manual. Practical ecopsychology and rituals for the earth, published in 2012 by Le Souffle d'or.

Gratitude and sympathy

“Hope in motion is a practice. It is a process that we can use in any situation and involves three key actions: becoming aware of reality, identifying where we want to go, expressing the values ​​we hold dear and starting to follow this direction. “, specify Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, a great specialist in resilience. The authors insist on the importance of being rooted in gratitude, an antidote to the consumerist headlong rush, which reinforces confidence, the spirit of cooperation and encourages people to take action. But also on the requirement, just as fundamental, to honor our suffering for the world, to realize that we can suffer with our world and that this reaction is normal, healthy and noble, as evidenced by the practices developed by all spiritual traditions. “To suffer with” being the translation of compassion which allows us to free ourselves from the erroneous belief of separation from the web of life. And to identify with the ecological Self, a concept of deep ecology, invented by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, according to which man is a living part of a large living body: the earth.

photo of author

Sophie Solere

Sophie Solère is an economic and social journalist who has been interested for years in the environment and interdependence. She works for Buddhist News, a media platform dedicated to Buddhist spirituality and wisdom. By practicing yoga and meditative dance, Sophie discovered the power of spiritual journeys, which offer so many paths to (re)find yourself. She is dedicated to sharing inspiring stories and valuable advice on spiritual practice and the environment with Buddhist News readers.

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